Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on Saturday said the SAD-BJP government had set the target of planting 40 crore saplings across the state in the next eight years with the aim of making the state clean, green and pollution-free.
Presiding over a high-level meeting of the government top brass and all deputy commissioners (DCs), the CM said the state government would formally launch the 'Greening Punjab' campaign on Sunday from Fazilka for enhancing the forest cover. He said the government had set a target of planting 5 crore saplings every year, for which the DCs were required to play a proactive role to transform the campaign into a public movement.
Badal asked the DCs to identify vacant government land in their respective districts for massive plantation. The chief minister asked the financial commissioner (forests) DS Bains to visit all districts to monitor the plantation drive. He said there was no dearth of funds and keeping in view the importance of greenery in the state, the Punjab government had already constituted a dedicated Greening Punjab Fund.
Badal said he would regularly monitor the campaign, while asking the DCs to submit weekly reports in his office in this regard. He also asked the DCs to constitute district-level monitoring committees, apart from appointing nodal officers for the campaign so that it could be carried out in an effective manner.
The chief minister reiterated that in order to help people get their routine administrative work done, the DCs must attend their offices regularly and ensure their presence on three days Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Besides, Badal asked the officers to regularly tour villages under their jurisdiction to apprise themselves of the problems.
New mining policy soon
The chief minister said the state government was fully committed to checking illegal mining, adding that a new mining policy would be announced in the coming days. He said the cabinet sub-committee constituted for the purpose had already submitted its recommendations to the state government, which would be incorporated into the policy. Badal directed the DCs to take strictest possible action against illegal miners in their respective districts, regardless of their political affiliations, so that it could be checked effectively. Badal said any leniency in checking this unlawful trade would not be tolerated at any cost.